Fast Company (1938)
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When William Powell and Myrna Loy became stars as wise-cracking married sleuths in the Thin Man pictures, exhibitors were clamoring for more. With the stars busy in other films, the studio tried to start a copycat series by picking up the rights to Harry Kurnitz's novel Fast Company. They even hired Kurnitz to write the screenplay for his tale of married rare book dealers, Joel and Gerda Sloane, who get mixed up in the murder of a crooked book dealer. Recognizable character types, Nat Pendleton, George Zucco, Dwight Frye and a young Louis Calhern were cast in support of stars Melvyn Douglas, who had shown his facility for witty comedy in She Married Her Boss (1935) and Theodora Goes Wild (1936), and Florence Rice, a beauty from Broadway who never got her due in Hollywood. MGM executives were happy enough with Douglas's performance to consider him as a possible replacement for an ailing William Powell as Nick Charles, but, oddly, not enough to bring him back for the other films in the Fast trilogy. Robert Montgomery and Rosalind Russell took over for Fast and Loose (1939), with Franchot Tone and Ann Sothern starring in Fast and Furious (1939).
By Frank Miller